We've been in Prishtina for a year and a half, though it's felt so much longer. In a few months, we won't live here anymore. We'll move back to the States for a while, and then on to new opportunities. It's just now starting to sink in that all of this—all that's become so familiar—will be just another dot on the map of places I've lived.
Like all of those places, Kosovo has been so much more.
I've seen patriarchy taken to new levels, both in the culture and the church, and I've learned how destructive it can be. I know that a good macchiato can cure most ailments. I've learned how to be patient when the water shuts off right as I'm shampooing my hair, when the [insert anything here] breaks, and when everyone waits until the last minute to make plans. My shoes instinctively come off at the front door.
I've learned that work isn't everything. I know how to sit with people and not try to fix anything. I've learned how to write when all I want to do is sleep, and how to lay it aside and take that nap. I know how to choose the most beautiful pomegranate from the market. I've learned how to breathe despite the smog.
I hope that as much as this place has changed me, I've done something to change it too. For a while I wasn't sure that I had. I stay inside a lot, writing and cooking. I don't have the obvious influence that Sam does at the school. My ministry is fuzzy, unscheduled. My accomplishments mostly unremarkable.
Then I looked at our kitchen. I haven't intentionally changed much about our apartment. Since we only planned two years here, I let things slide: the ugly bedspread, the Ottoman furniture, the shiny green blinds. I could live with them. Yet, over time, this place has very much become the Steere home. Pictures got tacked to the refrigerator. Houseplants added to the shelves. Signs of our life—our scorch marks, stains, and scattered papers—accumulated everywhere.
Just by living here, we changed this space.
But as I think about leaving, as I take a step back from what's become normal, I realize that it all mattered. Even the days I didn't want to live here. Even the days I didn't accomplish what I wanted to. The slow days, the hard days. Throughout all of them, I was still here. I still showed up. And God, in his brilliant goodness, made it amount to something. Because he lives in me and through me, and he puts his little touches on everything. He makes all things beautiful and useful.
Your life, too, is this way. Where you live and who you love matters. It adds up. In our bubble of normalcy, we don't always see it, but the everyday stuff can be extraordinary. Especially when our lives are fully surrendered to God, and we walk in obedience and intimacy with him.
I hope you'll join me today in taking a few steps back and seeing what God has been making from your everyday. I hope you'll see the spaces you've changed, the people you've loved, and even the way your nation is different because you showed up.
May you continue to live well wherever you are,
PS: I'll tell you more about our future plans soon. It's an exciting time for us, and God is opening up some very cool doors! Please pray for guidance in this season, and the faith to walk out whatever he calls us to.